Forgive me if I've previously blogged on this before. It has been great on my heart in recent times. Perhaps my favorite quote is from Madeline L'Engle, "I don't envy those who have never known any pain, physical or spiritual, because I strongly suspect that the capacity for pain and the capacity for joy are equal. Only those who have suffered great pain are able to know equally great joy."
The other day I had a Jehovah's Witness couple come to my door. They had been here previously in the summer which I vaguely remembered. Of course they hoped to win me over to their thoughts and wanted me to question what I believed. I wasted no time in being up front with my faith. I won't spend time with details, but they really wanted to talk about suffering and what happens when we die. It's not worth mentioning where they wanted to go with the conversation, but it has helped me continue my thoughts I had been having on suffering the last few weeks anyway.
We all have our issues in life. What may seem major to us is in fact really minor so many times. I have been challenged in the last few weeks to be cautious of problems in life. I think we (myself definitely included) forget to let our trials mold us to God and instead use them to distance us from Him and give room for complaint to enter our hearts.
I guess what has really sparked this is the experiences of many of my friends' lives. I think of Cyndi who lost her 18 month old daughter to cancer, Angie who has a toddler son and has cancer (but is about to celebrate the end of radiation YAY!), Carol's daughter with a serious leg injury, Rachel who has suffered from fibromyalgia to the point she could hardly get out for 2 years until remission within the last month (another YAY!), my grandmother with stage 3 stomach cancer, a friend in Georgia years ago that lost her baby 2 weeks before her due date...need I go on?
The point is what do I have to complain about? I have 3 healthy girls, a loving and providing husband, supportive family, a nice home, no life threatening sickness. Why should it greive me that my garage door doesn't shut despite the new door?! Stinkin' wire! :) Why do I get upset over my leaking roof I know is soon to be replaced? Why do I stress about the bills every month that never fail to be paid? Why do I get upset when one of my kids gets me up in the middle of the night or too early in the morning? You get the idea again. It's bad enough to worry about these things, but too many times I find myself complaining out loud about them. There are many that would love to even have a garage, have their own home, have a job, and have their child back. I never forgot what Cyndi wrote on her daughter, Courtni's, care page near the end of her battle with neuroblastoma cancer. She referenced Matthew 26 when Jesus goes to the Garden of Gethsemane and how she really understood His words. He tells His disciples, "My soul is deeply grieved, to the point of death; remain here and keep watch with me." Then when He gets to the garden he "fell on His face and prayed, saying, 'My Father, if it is possible, let this cup pass from Me; yet not as I will, but as You will.'" Maybe it's too bold, but I challenge anyone and myself to not ask for the minor inconveniences to be passed from us. The loss of a mother's child is much more than ANY problem I have so far encountered and believe me, I've encountered my share.
I reflect on my life and think how the problems I've had in my life have molded me into who I am today. I allowed them to bring me closer to God as I grew up with many challenges. If you want to know more about some of those challenges, let me know and I'll e-mail you privately.
A few nights ago my precious GEM, who just turned 3, was up with an earache. She cried from 11 p.m. until 4 a.m. It was 5:30 when I returned her and myself to our respective beds and she was up at 7:30!! Pardon my pride, but I was proud of myself for not once getting frustrated of complaining. I actually found myself thanking God for this beautiful child that I could hold in my arms and comfort (to the best of my ability). I thought about how that night would soon enough be a distant memory to me as my children grow up so fast! (Anyone else have that problem?) I want to enjoy life with all it's challenges for I'm certain I face greater ones in the future. Nothing I go through will ever compare with the suffering of my Savior and He holds my life in His hand.
Here is a verse from a great hymn.
“Let not your heart be troubled,” His tender word I hear,
And resting on His goodness, I lose my doubts and fears;
Though by the path He leadeth, but one step I may see;
His eye is on the sparrow, and I know He watches me.“